4 amazing women who have led the UN General Assembly

These are the four women who have led the UN General Assembly, an organ of the United Nations with more than 70 years

4 amazing women who have led the UN General Assembly

"Gender equality will be a high priority during my presidency of the 73rd UN General Assembly," said former Ecuadorian Foreign Minister María Fernanda Espinosa on her Twitter account. Recently, the Ecuadorian began her work leading the world's largest organization in matters of politics and human rights. Espinosa is the first Latin American woman to be named President of the General Assembly, and the fourth in the history of the international organization.

Leer en español: 4 asombrosas mujeres que han liderado la Asamblea General de la ONU

Thus, despite the social challenges and prejudices that women have faced throughout history, they have also proven to be as capable as men in politics. This has been demonstrated by the four diplomats of the United Nations (UN) who are an inspiration for women around the world.

María Fernanda Espinosa

The Ecuadorian poet and diplomat María Fernanda Espinosa was elected President of the UN General Assembly in June 2018. Espinosa dedicated her appointment to "the women of the world" and has been fervently committed to working on gender parity within the organization during her presidential term.

In addition, in her Twitter account she reiterated her respect for the three women of the UN who preceded her and who were an important pillar for the construction of the international organization.

Espinosa was chancellor in the period of President Rafael Correa and Lenín Moreno. She was also a minister in different areas for ten years and has more than 20 years of experience in political and human rights issues, according to El Ciudadano, the newspaper of the Government of Ecuador. In an interview for UN News, Espinosa highlighted seven priority issues that will be addressed in the General Assembly. These are:

  • Decent work and economic growth
  • Rights of persons with disabilities
  • Environmental Protection
  • Rights of migrants and refugees
  • Gender equality
  • Strategies to avoid violence and drugs in youth
  • The revitalization of the United Nations system

Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit

The first woman to lead a General Assembly of the United Nations was Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, in 1953. Pandit was a woman ahead of her time, who fought for the independence of India and manifested herself on the right of women to a good education. Her vocation to defend minorities and her boldness in rebelling against the unfair led her to make three arrests related to civil disobedience.

This brave diplomat managed to break through politics with her strong ideas, despite the fact that India was under the British empire and that politics was dominated entirely by men. Pandit became the first woman in India to hold a position in the government cabinet with the post of Minister of Local Self-Government and Public Health.

Among the most important titles she acquired in her political career are that of legislator of the United Provinces, until its dissolution in 1947; Ambassador of the Soviet Union, the United States and England; president of All India Women's Conference, and founder and president of Save the Children India, according to the UN.

You can also read: Alexandria Ocasio, the new Democratic representative of Puerto Rican origin 

Angie Brooks

The President of the UN General Assembly in 1969, Angie Brooks, was a Liberian woman who dedicated her life to the study of Law and Political Science. She enrolled in five universities between the United States, London and Liberia, which she paid with the sweat of her front, according to Liberian Observer.

Brooks worked as a dishwasher, washerwoman, library assistant and nursing assistant to partially pay for her academic training and to support her two children as a divorced mother, explains the same media. Her exhaustive studies led her to occupy different positions within the UN before heading the General Assembly.

Some of the positions that frame the organization's page are that of vice president of the Commission for Information on Non-Self-governing Territories, president of the United Nations Commission for Rwanda-Urundi, and president of the Visiting Mission of the United Nations to theTrust Territory of the Pacific Islands.

In addition to her diplomatic practice within the United Nations, she was vice-president of the International Federation of Women Lawyers, vice president and later president of the Federation for Africa, vice president of the National Political and Social Movement of Liberia, lawyer in the Supreme Court, and Deputy Attorney General of his country.

Haya Rashed Al Khalifa

The president of the 61st period of the UN General Assembly in 2006 was Sheikh Haya Rashed Al Khalifa, from the Arab country of Bahrain. She stood out as one of the first two lawyers in her country, and was the first female ambassador for Bahrain, according to Gulf News.

The lawyer broke schemes and forged the way for women in the legal system of her nation. In addition, she opened the doors to women in Bahrain's political scene.

According to the same media, at the same time that Haya Rashed Al Khalifa was named President of the UN General Assembly, Nada Haffadh was elected as prime minister. Then six more Muslims were elected to the Shura Council, Upper Chamber of the Bahraini Parliament; and Mona Al Kawari became the country's first judge.

LatinAmerican Post | María de los Ángeles Rubio

Translated from "4 asombrosas mujeres que han liderado la Asamblea General de la ONU"

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